Side-chain theory


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Related to Side-chain theory: clonal selection theory

Side´-chain` the`o`ry


1.(Physiol. Chem.) A theory proposed by P. Ehrlich as a chemical explanation of immunity phenomena. In brief outline it is as follows: Animal cells and bacteria are complex aggregations of molecules, which are themselves complex. Complex molecules react with one another through certain of their side chains, but only when these side chains have a definite correspondence in structure (this accounts for the specific action of antitoxins).
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He demonstrated how the immune system's B cells are activated and induced to produce antibodies, thereby helping to decode the molecular bases of Paul Ehrlich's famous side-chain theory. He is currently a professor for molecular immunology at the Institute of Biology III of the University of Freiburg and scientific director of the Cluster of Excellence BIOSS, Centre for Biological Signalling Studies.